What to Do for Dental Emergencies

In Case of a Dental Emergency, please call  us at (704) 364-7069 and we will be happy to see you as soon as possible. If there is a delay, these are the most common problems – and how you should treat them until we see you.

Common Dental Emergencies

Loose  crown, either permanent or temporary

If you have a loose temporary or permanent crown, it is important to get it back on the tooth as quickly as possible.  The main reason for this is to avoid the teeth around it shifting; if the other teeth shift and close some of the space, we might not be able to get the crown back on, requiring more work and expense.   Therefore, if either a temporary or real crown falls off, please call our office immediately to schedule an appointment.  You can use a little denture adhesive like Fixodent to make it stay until you can come to our office.

If a full denture or partial denture is broken most likely it will need a repair done by a local dental laboratory. Please call our office and bring in all the broken pieces for they are all helpful in repairing your denture.  Very often, if you can come first thing in the morning, we can have your repaired denture back that afternoon; broken metal clasps on partial dentures usually take a couple days.

If just a tooth popped off, please save it to bring with you; again, this can usually be fixed by our dental laboratory the same day, as long as you come to the office early enough.

Chipped or broken tooth

If you have chipped a front or a back tooth and there is no pain, it’s perfectly OK to wait until regular office hours and call us to have it taken care of. If  the broken tooth hurts, it could mean there is a cavity, an abscess or an inflammed pulp (the nerve inside the tooth). This needs to be taken care of because the body cannot repair it by itself. If you’re a current patient with us, please call the emergency number at (704) 451-3405, and we will do our best to take care of you.

Pain to hot or cold

Any pain to hot or cold could mean that the pulp (the nerve inside the tooth) is inflamed and that there is a more serious problem. Call our office promptly – don’t wait, hoping that it will get better on its own.  Even if it goes away, it’s usually only temporary and will return even worse later on.  Unfortunately, our teeth can’t heal by themselves.

If a front tooth has been knocked out

If you or your child has a tooth knocked out completely, usually due to a sports injury, it is critical that you do the following, along with calling our office ASAP:

  1. Quickly rinse the tooth under cool water if there is dirt or debris on it, but do not touch the tooth root. 
  2. If possible, place the tooth back into the socket and stabilize it by gently squeezing on a soft towel or some gauze.
  3. If you can’t put the tooth back in, here is how you should store it in order of preference:
    1. Place the tooth in Hank’s Balanced Saline Solution (usually found in pharmacies)
    2. Put the tooth in cold milk.
    3. Wrap the tooth in saline (salt-water) soaked gauze.
    4. Put the tooth under athlete’s tongue. Do this ONLY if patient is alert enough to avoid accidental swallowing or choking.  Do NOT put the tooth under anyone else’s tongue!
    5. Put the tooth in cup of cool water.

Pain when biting down

The most common reason for pain that mostly, or only, happens when you bite on something, is that there is one or more cracks in a tooth.  If you really want to be sure, bite gently on something kind of chewy and release it carefully; if it doesn’t hurt when biting down but does hurt when you let go, that’s a classic case of “Cracked-Tooth Syndrome.”  As long as the pain doesn’t last more than 5-10 seconds and isn’t severe, you probably only need a crown to save the tooth.  If it lasts longer than that and is severe, you may need a root canal, too.